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Forum Sees Irate Airport Official Defend Expansion

By Mike Gold, Daily Nexus, March 5, 1973

Billed as a forum to discuss the proposed airport expansion, a standing-room-only throng which gathered last Thursday evening at Goleta Union School saw instead a war take place.

Loud and lively Maurice Goldman, chairman of the Airport Commission, hurled verbal barrages at three fellow panelists representing various community interest groups: Third District Supervisor James Slater, Tom Stigletts of the Goleta Valley Citizens Planning Group, and Gary Hart, member of the Proposition 20-created Coastline Commission.

Alleging at one point that “this is a propaganda meeting,” Goldman’s major argument for replacement of the airport terminal centered on the structure’s present deficiencies.

He cited the 30-year-old terminal’s lack of healthy eating area, safety features, gas and clean restrooms.

Goldman was joined on the panel by Municipal Airport Manager Robert Shekar, who explained that the Joint-Powers agreement (referring to the 1972 County Board of Supervisors allegiance with the city and county of Santa Barbara — initiated to finance the project) was the best means of financing the terminal expansion.

Emcee Jack Saunders, press secretary for Concerned Citizens for Sensible Growth (CCSG), responded that by this method, county citizens are excluded from the decision process. He added that this “might not be a good time to sink $2.25 million into an expansion project.”

Saunders also commented that the 1970 development decision “is not in the spirit of limited growth, which is a relatively new community feeling.”

Disagreeing with Goldman’s “logic and reasoning,” Supervisor Slater voiced his concern that the people presently don’t have any say in an expansion move which affects the entire community.

Like the previous two, Stigletts stated that Goleta Valley citizens would like to be involved.

He went on to say that he was sure the new terminal would not be paid by a raise in taxes but instead by increased commercialization which he claimed may be “to the detriment of the Goleta Valley.”

Hart concluded that since substantial funds have not been invested into airport construction yet, the proposed project should come before his South Central Coast Conservation Commission.

The big problem now, belabored Hart, is that the “demarcation line has not been determined yet.”

Hart was referring to the Proposition 20 passage that specifies the coastal zone, a zone in which no construction should occur, as 1,000 yards from high tide. UCSB Geography Professor Norman Sanders has already interpreted the statement to include the Goleta Slough and therefore make the airport terminal rebuilding, which is within 1,000 yards of the slough, subject to Coastal Commission approval.

Should the project come under the auspices of Hart’s committee, the former Assembly candidate promised that they would insist on “community input and open the airport expansion question to public hearings.”

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